Data on Hang Gliders - by Category

Last update 2/4/97

Hang Gliders sorted by performance category. This data is also available sorted by manufacturer.

This page brought to you by Ventura County Hang Gliding.

  1. Training
  2. Recreational
  3. Competition

Gliders Sorted by Category

This list contains all the same entries as are in the glider list sorted by manufacturer. Here, however, the gliders are sorted according to the type of flight they for which they're designed: Training, Recreational Flying and Competition. Since these categories overlap somewhat, several gliders will show up in more than one category.


Glider   Years   Sizes (sq ft)   Rating    Manufacturer

Raven     '79 - '81   179, 209, 229      1         Wills

comments: Floater, Easy handling, Single surface, Poor penetration, Statically tail heavy,
229 used as tandem glider.

Harrier   '81 - '84   147, 177, 187      1-2       Wills   
(1 & 2)	

comments: Easy handling, Single surface, Relatively tight flare timing for a trainer

SkyHawk   '84 - '89   168, 188           1         Wills

comments: Refined Harrier for training use.  Easy handling / landing

Spectrum  '91 -       144, 165           1         Wills

comments: Current Generation Double Surface trainer

I owned a Spectrum 165 and thought it was more for a hang 2 or 3.  
It was very manuverable in the air but I could never land it consitently well.  
Also the set up was a bit tedious compared to my friends Pac-Air Pulse.   I traded the 
Spectrum in for a WW Falcon 195 and since I only platform tow once a 
month or so and I enjoy the Falcon more.   Also, the spectrum I had was 
called the "plus" model that was $400 more and included wing tips and 
faired down tubes.

Falcon    '95 -        170, 195, 225     1         Wills

comments: Single surface trainer.  Light, very easy handling.
          225 is a good tandem glider

Vision    '83 - '86   160, 180, 200      1-2       Pacific Airwave

comments: Easy handling double surface, Good landing characteristics.
          Poor penetration for double surface
Eclipse   '86 - '87   170, 190          1-2        Pacific Airwave 

comments: Next generation Vision, Quasi-keel-pocketless (keel strap)
          Some had high speed oscillation problems
Mark IV   '88 - '92   170, 190          1-2        Pacific Airwave

comments: Next Generation Vision, Better performance than Eclipse
          without oscillation problems.
Pulse     '92 -        9, 10, 11 (m2)    1-2       Pacific Airwave

comments: Current generation Vision

XL        '91 -       145, 165           1         Moyes

comments:  Single Surface, light weight

Gemini     81-84      134, 164, 184      1-2       UP

comments:  Single surface Comet, Floating but exposed crossbar.  
           Well regarded trainer of this period.

XTC        ?          ?                   1+       UP

comments:  Single surface trainer series, 205 size used as tandem glider	

Dream      85-     145, 165, 185          1        Delta Wing
                   205, 220, 240                
comments:  Very popular single surface trainer.  Docile handling, easy landing, poor
           glide/penetration.  The 145 was one of the few good trainers for light (<120 lb)
           pilots until several small trainers - Pulse 9M, XL 145, small Spectrum -
           hit the market in the early '90s.  The 220 was the de facto standard tandem
           glider for many years, but the 240 was reputed to be too big and difficult to
           handle for all but the largest tandem loads.  Production on these models has continued
           through UP and later Air Sports International after Delta Wing folded.
Lancer     79-81   155, 180, 200          1        Flight Designs
Super Lancer

comments: Easy handling, easy landing trainer.  Quick set-up.
          Uncambered plastic battens, Poor speed and penetration
          Comparable to Raven without tail heaviness

Javelin    81-83   168, 208               1        Flight Designs

comments: Easy handling, easy landing trainer, Cambered Aluminum ribs
          Better performance than Lancer series, comparable to Harrier series

Elan       89-         154              1-3        Avian

comments: 60% Double Surface, very light   

Recreational Flying

Glider   Years   Sizes (sq ft)   Rating    Manufacturer

Sport     '86 -     150, 167, 180      2           Wills  
(& AT)                                                    
(& Supersport)   

comments: Double Surface, No Keel Pocket, Compromise of good handling, 
          reasonable landing, glide and penetration characteristics.  
          7075 tubing made for relatively light weight.
          167 Sport AT has proven to be better than average rec. class glider.
          Landing flare timing not critical.  Very distinct flare cues.
          Not tail heavy as in previous WW
          Watch for excessive wear on corner fittings.
          Some gliders came with unsleeved down tubes.  Replace with sleeved ASAP.
          Super Sport is NOT a huge gain over Sport AT if at all.
          Try and find a used SportAT 167! They are that well liked.

Spectrum  '91 -        ?                 1         Wills

comments: Current Generation Double Surface trainer

Vision    '83 - '86   160, 180, 200      1-2       Pacific Airwave

comments: Easy handling double surface, Good landing characteristics.
          Poor penetration for double surface
Eclipse   '86 - '87   170, 190          1-2        Pacific Airwave 

comments: Next generation Vision, Quasi-keel-pocketless (keel strap)
          Some had high speed oscillation problems
Mark IV   '88 - '92   170, 190          1-2        Pacific Airwave

comments: Next Generation Vision, Better performance than Eclipse
          without oscillation problems.
Pulse     '92 -        9, 10, 11 (m2)    1-2       Pacific Airwave

comments: Current generation Vision       

Formula      ?         144, 154          2-3       Pacific Airwave 

comments: Double Surface, Good handling  

          Formulas are yawy gliders but very manoeuvrable.   

XT         '90 -       145, 165          2         Moyes

comments: Recreational Double Surface

XS3        '93 -       142               3         Moyes

comments: Lightened XS.  Easy Handling with good performance.  
          Small control frame. VG       
Comet 3     89-90      185, ?            3         UP 

comments: Intermediate level double surface glider.  Not produced for long.
           Few models in service.

XTR        ?         ?                   3         UP

comments: Aluminum framed version of TRX for intermediates  

Aero        91-        145, 165          2         Enterprise Wings

comments: Keelpocketless, recreational double surface wing, No VG, 14 battens 
          upper-surface, 4 under-surface.  Aspect Ratio 5.2. Nose angle 122.
          65% double surface. 56 lbs.  Great Novice wing.

Rage        95-            ?             3         Enterprise Wings (Moyes)

comments: The Rage has a very fast set-up, VG, and very good glide at low to medium speeds. 
          In Enterprise Wings' tradition is particularly easy to fly.
Mystic      85-87      155, 166, 177     3         Delta Wing      

comments: Attempted copy of the then popular Airwave Magic series.  Good handling											   
          but never had the performance of the Magic.  Many called this glider the
          "Mistake", but Kevin Christopherson did set a world distance record in one.

Amour      91-         139, 159         3-4        Avian        

comments: Very light, 139 is 56 lbs in bag with a small A-frame. Good for the smaller pilot.
          159 is 63 lbs in bag, superb handling. 

Sport       88-        150, 160          ?         Solar Wings

Rush        94-        15 (m2)           ?         Solar Wings

Profil     84-         13, 15 (m2)       3         La Mouette

comments: Intermediate double surface glider. Very nice handling, forgives some mistakes, 
very easy to control during take off even in turbulent conditions.   



Includes Older Comp Wings that might now be considered Recreational. All of these gliders are double surface.

Glider     Years     Sizes (sq ft)  Rating  Manufacturer

Duck       '81 - '83    130, 155, 180,      3        Wills
comments: OK handling for an early '80s competition glider, but stiff
          by contemporary standards.  Extremely tight flare timing
Attack     '83 - '84    155, 180            3        Wills

comments: Similar to Duck but with minor improvements (half-ribs, straight tips)

HP         '84 - '88    170                 3-4      Wills    
(1 & 2)                

comments: Stiff handling, fast (for it's day)  No keel pocket
          Early models in particular were difficult to turn.  
		  HP2 added kingpost hang system and improved handling somewhat                                 
HP-AT      '89 - '93    145, 158            3-4      Wills   

comments: VG (lever).  Easier handling than earlier HP models, 
          but still reputed to have moderately tight flare timing.

RamAir     '93 -        146, 154            4        Wills

comments: Very fast, excellent energy retention and good flare authority, 
          though some pilots report unusual handling characteristics.
          Has undersurface scoop designed to pressurize the wing at high speed.														  
XC         '95            ?                 4        Wills        

comments: Variant of the RamAir (without the undersurface scoop), reputed to maintain the
          performance of the Ram with better handling characteristics

Magic      '83 - '88    133,155,166         3        Pacific Airwave 
(3 & 4)                 177 

comments: Fast, Easy Landing, VG, High Pitch Pressures, Heavy 
K-series  '88 - 94     144, 154, 160        3        Pacific Airwave
(Kiss, K2                                          
K3, K4, K5  

comments: VG, Some early Kisses had tuning problems. Some models have 
          a high speed oscillation tendency.  Different models refer 
          to different sizes (Kiss,K4=154, K2,K5=144, K3=160)    
Klassic   '94 -        144, 155, 166        3-4      Pacific Airwave

comments: Next generation K-series. 1995 models have optional winglets
that are claimed to improve both handling and high speed performance

GTR       '85 - '88   147, 162, 175         3        Moyes 

comments: Relatively Good Handling, VG, Curved Fiberglass wingtips
          Heavy.  Bulletproof
XS        '88 - '93   142, 155, 169         3-4      Moyes 
(1 & 2)

comments: VG, No keel pocket.  Good high speed glide. Heavy,
          Bulletproof (very hard to break)                                            
Xtralite  '93 -       137, 147, 164         4        Moyes

comments: Smaller Lighter XS Descendent, Fast, Relatively Easy Handling
          Some improvements in set up ease over XS series.
Sensor 510A   82-84   160, 180              4        Seedwings

comments: VG and keel pocket

Sensor 510B   85-87   160                   4        Seedwings

comments: VG, no keel pocket

Sensor 510C   87-89   160                   4        Seedwings

comments: VG compensator system

Sensor 510E   90-92   160                   4        Seedwings

Sensor 610    93-     144, 152              4        Seedwings

comments: Improved handling and landing characteristics while maintaining
          excellent performance.  '94 and later models have "flap" system.
Sensor 610F   95-     (135), 144, 152       4        Seedwings

Note: The two comments about this entry vary widely.
comments: The latest 610F has the control bar attached behind the CG for
          Better flair authority.  There are 6 shear ribs per side in lieu of 3
          per side previously.  The air frame and ribs are constructed of 7075-T3
          Aluminum alloy.  The 152 weighs 70 lbs.  The flap system is integral with the VG
          system.  Sail areas are actually 152, 144 & 135 Sq.ft. respectively. The stall
          speed is 19 mph correct airspeed with flaps (12 mph indicated airspeed).
          Min. sink is estimated at 160 fpm at the recommended wing loading of 1.8 
          lb./sq.ft.  The glide ratio is estimated at 14:1.  VNE=65 mph, VA=55mph.  "Just 
          pull-in on the VG line and watch as the flap system disengages, transforming your
          floater back into a screaming blade wing."
          I do not know who put the entry for the Sensor 610F but it is misleading.  The 135 
          size does not yet exist even in prototype form.  Delivery for new Sensor exceeds one 
          year as Bob Trampeneau does everything himself.  Furthermore, none of the Sensor 610 
          are USHGA certified.  maybe I am picky but I was looking at buying one and I did some 
          research.  From what I heard from other pilots, I will never but a Sensor myself unless 
          I want to be a test pilot for Bob.

Comet     80-82       165, 185              3        UP

comments: First of the modern double surface gliders.  Good performance for its
          day, but rather stiff by current standards, high pitch pressure.
          Easier to land than its contemporary, the Duck series.

Comet 2   83-84       165, 185              3-4      UP

comments: Cleaner Comet replacement.  Similar.

GZ        85          155                   4        UP  

comments: Small, heavy, fast.  Never became popular before UP folded.

Axis      88-90       13, 15 (m2)           4        UP 

comments: Fast, VG, stiff handling.  Well regarded as aerobatic gliders.
TRX       91-         140, 160              3-4      UP

comments: Carbon fiber framed, high performance glider with VG.  
          Significantly lighter than other competing designs.  Very
          good sink rate and landing characteristics.
Predator  95-         142,158               4        Blue Sky

comments: Blue Sky's succesor to the TRX.  Carbon framed, uses vortex generators
          on the wing to increase performance.  Reported to outperform the TRX.
          Predator sails may be retrofitted to TRX frames.
Foil      87-89       160, 170 ?            3-4      Enterprise Wings    

comments: Competition glider with reputation for good handling.  Has VG

Combat    90-93       137, 152              3-4      Enterprise Wings

comments: Succesor to Foil.  Good handling, relatively high pitch pressures.

Desire    93-         141, 151              4        Enterprise Wings

comments: Competition Wing with extremely good handling. named Desire to maintain the letter 
tradition started when the company's name was Foil. The Combat was the Foil C. 
The Desire is the foil D.  The focus on handling highlighted by the success of the 
Combat is very clear in the Desire, which coordinates brilliantly in thermals, with 
no need to highside (particularly the 151), even with VG full on (most pilots would 
fly it with VG on except for take off and landing). Glide is very good and landing is 
easy due to a relatively large flare window. Flat rigging and tensioning is possible.
Was the glider of choice of the Australian champion.

Streak    82-84          ?                  4        Delta Wing

comments: Stiff, fast (for its day) competition glider.  Keel pocket,
          No VG.  Detached under surface.  Several of these tumbled after
          tuning modifications
Shadow    83             ?                  3        Flight Designs

comments: Double surface competition glider with reputation for good handling
          Not many produced before Flight Designs folded.
Java      95-      140, 150, 155            4        Avian

comments:  High performance glider that handles easy as an intermediate, very  
           light VG, excellent speed range, very good climb.	
Elite     95-            ?                  4        Enterprise Wings

comments:  Replacement for the Desire.  The following is a detailed report taken
           from the hang gliding mailing list: 

           The planform looks different than the Desire.  All 7075 tubing so it is 
           *much* lighter than the Desire. The Leading Edge looks very stiff. There 
           is no any neoprene between the top and bottom surface at the tips.  It 
           has washout struts. The top of the A-frame is on a short slide, using 
           the Wills Wing hardware, for laying flat. That is the only WW hardware 
           though. There is at least one shear web in the tip section.

           There are no tips of any kind, and not even any velcro to install them.  
           Supposedly [Enterprise Wings] had done some wind tunnel tests and the 
           round type tips most gliders have actually make more drag than just 
           the open tip. 

           It has a folding base tube. The VG string travel is quite short and 
           light. The cross bar pull back is very easy also.  The nose wires are 
           tight. It has the internal LE deflexor like the Desire, but the cable
           is heavier and the hardware is improved.

           The stock TE cloth is a mylar sandwich, and they are using different 
           LE cloth. The sail looks very nice. The top of the A frame is at least 
           6" behind the hang loops.  King post hang system, with a neoprene seal 
           around the king post.  
Typhoon     81-          ?             ?         Solar Wings

Typhoon S4  85-       166, 180         ?         Solar Wings

comments:  Higher performance version of Typhoon

Ace         86-    150, 160, 170       ?         Solar Wings

comments: Early performance Rumour with keel pocket. Also available in "RX" racing version

Rumour      89-      13.5, 14.5 (m2)   ?         Solar Wings

comments: Performance glider, reportedly very stiff

Rumour2     91-      13, 14 (m2)       ?         Solar Wings

comments: Performance glider, reportedly bad in roll	

Rumour      92-          12 (m2)       ?         Solar Wings

Rumour3     93-      13, 14 (m2)       ?         Solar Wings

comments: High performance, improved on 1 & 2

Scandal     95-     12.4, 13.6, 14.4   ?         Solar Wings

comments: Newest high performance with APS.  Active pressure system - holes in 
leading edge, keep its shape at speed
Cobra      '92-      13.5            ?          La Mouette

comments:  High Performance

Compact    '92-      13              ?          La Mouette      

comments:  Smaller Cobra

Topless    '95-        ?             ?          La Mouette

comments:  High performance, no top rigging

CSX        '97-        ?             ?          Moyes

comments:  Version of the SX series with a carbon spar and no top rigging.  Reputed
           to be very fast with a great glide.													
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